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Abul Kalam Azad

Hints Birth:  11 November 1888 carrer:  journalist, political move-ment as a Congress leader, first minister of Education in independent India-posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna-died on 22 February 1958

Abul Kalam Azad was born on 11 November 1888. He was an Indian scholar and a senior political leader of the Indian independence movement. He is commonly remembered as Maulana Azad. As a young man, Azad composed poetry in Urdu language, as well as treatises on religion and philosophy. He rose to prominence through his work as a journalist, criticising the British Raj and strengthening the causes of Indian nationalism. Azad became the leader of the Khilafat movement during which he came into close contact with Mahatma Gandhi. He became an enthusiastic supporter of Gandhiji's ideas of non-violent civil disobedience and worked to organise the non-cooperation movement in protest of the 1919 Rowlatt Acts. He also worked on promoting Swadeshi products and the cause of Swaraj for India. In 1923, he became the youngest person to serve as the President of the Indian National Congress. He emerged as one of the most prominent national leaders of his time, leading the causes of Hindu-Muslim unity as well as supporting secularism. He served as the Congress President from 1940 to 1945 during which the Quit India movment was launched. Azad was imprisoned, together with the entire Congress leadership, for three years. Amidst communal turmoil following the partition of India, he worked for religious harmony, Azad helped the establishment of a national education system with free primary education and modern institutions of higher education. He breathed his last on 22 February 1958. He was posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna, His contribution to establishing the education foundation in India is recognised by celebrating his birtnday as 'National Education Day' across India.

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